Soft Skills Are Not For Softies

One of the things I hear often in leadership circles is that “women are too emotional” to be successful leaders.

As a female leader my response to this is… YES, females have emotions. But how they use these can make them some of the best leaders.

Females have emotions (go figure), but they certainly don’t “lose it” at the drop of a hat. They have emotions and are not emotionless and they utilise these emotions. When emotional intelligence is seen to be one of the most sort after skills in the future of work, don’t we want our leaders to be recognising their emotional responses to situations and then using those emotions as data or information to help make decisions.

I think that Emotional Intelligence can be a female leader’s secret weapon.

Did you know… there are more men named John running organisations than all women put together. This is a bit startling.

More Men Named John.jpg


A Harvard University study concluded:

•      80% of a person’s achievements in their career are determined by “soft skills” they possess.

•      Just 20% is down to the hard skills (technical abilities and qualifications)


•      Technical abilities and qualifications are still given uneven weighting and importance when evaluating potential candidates for employment.

•      This is not to say IQ is not important, BUT….In Business and Leadership, it is these so called “soft skills” which take a business forward.

Women often have permission to be emotionally intelligent in the workplace where as men, not so much.

And women executives rank highest in emotional intelligence.

Women’s brains are wired differently. So rather than try to think like a man, why not think like a woman and really make the most of this gift.

Women seeking leadership positions need to improve their emotional competency to enlarge their ability to:

·                    Cope with pressure

·                    Build trust

·                    Negotiate

·                    Influence others

·                    Navigate work place politics and

·                    Take smart risks

Think of all the so called “soft skills” where a female leader can excel.

•      Emotional Intelligence

•      Resilience / Mental Toughness

•      Building Relationships

•      Motivating and Engaging Others

•      Building Effective Teams

•      Creating Trust and Respect

•      Communication

I am currently working with one female executive who has a huge white board in her room covered in small white tiles, each stating the name of an emotion. When her staff come into the room to discuss an issue, there is a rule that they have to chose a tile which represents how they feel in that particular moment. In other words, she gets them to own their emotion and how they feel as they commence a discussion with her. How awesome is that!

So ladies, use your emotions for good. Manage them and recognise the data they contain so we can change a few statistics moving forward.